If you were to walk into your kitchen right now, chances are you could count on two hands the number of appliances plugged in and waiting to be used at any given moment.
Chances are also you’re not aware that each of these appliances is individually consuming your electricity every minute they’re plugged in. They’re costing you hard-earned money as the minute's tick by.
What is Standby Power?
Standby power is the small increments of electricity that certain appliances in the home consume day by day, minute by minute as they sit and wait to be put to use.
Standby power usually goes unacknowledged because most don’t even realize it’s there. You’ll only notice upon closer observation of the monthly electricity bill when compared to a bill from a household using little to no standby power.
According to the United States Department of Energy, roughly 75% of appliance energy use comes from units people think are off and not in use. That is a huge percentage of power and money waste finding its way onto your household bill each month.
The good news it is fully preventable.
What’s Eating My Power?
So, what is actually responsible for this unnecessary consumption of such an important resource? Some of the top consumers of standby power include the following:
- TVs and DVRs
- All tablet, laptop and phone chargers
- Coffee machines
- Surround sound systems
This is just to name a few. But essentially anything that can be left plugged in while not in use, is likely a standby power consumption and therefore costing you money
Even the brightest of us may still not fully understand how our precious electricity works or finds its way into our homes as we need it to. Luckily, understanding why these certain appliances eat away at the electricity is a bit easier to do.
Appliances that can exist on a standby mode, whether you have told it to or it does so by itself, need the feed of constant electricity. This is necessary for them to be ready the minute you, the user decides it’s time to make use of them. Essentially this eliminates any delay in usage that would exist were the appliance completely unplugged and switched off before use.
The goal of standby power appliances is a more instantaneous, user-friendly experience. One where the user doesn’t have to go through the extra effort of plugging in and restarting the appliance. This can, of course, take a varied amount of time depending on the appliance in question. An example is a coffee machine that will likely have to reboot and refresh each time it’s plugged in.
If one is interested in saving both power and money every month, it’s essentially up to the homeowner: Which appliances are you happy to experience the additional time delay with and which ones should be kept ready all day, every day?
Tips to Save Power
If saving money and power is your preference there are a few simple tips that homeowners can make use of in the day to day:
- Label and separate the cables of your home entertainment system. Make it easy to identify which ones can be pulled out when not in use and which ones must stay plugged in.
- If you can feel the heat coming off an appliance or cable device, while it’s not in use, it is costing you money. Unplug it.
- Compare standby energy wattage when shopping for new appliances.
- Compare regular energy wattage when shopping for new appliances! Standby energy use is irrelevant if the appliance consumes ridiculous amounts of energy when in normal use.
Making oneself more aware is the first step toward not only creating a more economically friendly home environment for oneself but also for the planet as a whole. Start learning about the standby power footprint that your house is creating.
If in doubt - plug it out!